We Are Not Letting Diabetes Win Anymore
By: Jodi Otis
10 years ago our lives were forever changed when my then 6-year-old son, Bailey, was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic. I will never forget the day his beautiful brown eyes looked at me as he uttered the words….”Mom, am I going to die?”
I swear my heart stopped for that moment in time. I saw his life flash before me in just a matter of seconds. The tears softly rolled down my cheeks as I promised him he was going to be OK, that no matter what, he was going to feel better soon.
Before we knew it we were off to Children’s Hospital where his blood sugar was almost 800 and he had large ketones but was not in DKA. We spent the night and as many T1D parents do—you admire them as they sleep. As I sat in the darkness and silence the tears fell like rain.
And I prayed—I prayed for him to find peace and the strength to handle this. He was six, 6. He should be worrying about if he was going to jump in mud puddles or ride his bike not what his blood sugar is. I knew we had a long road ahead of us.
The next two days we had training so we could take our child home with us and be experts in diabetes. I should have known he would have had the most amazing courage, he took the poker and meter from the nurse and tested his sugar all by himself. He really has no fear of anything!
4 years later, when he was just 10, his 14-year-old sister, Bree, wasn’t feeling well and he could see the telltale signs and he told her to take his meter and check her sugar and if my heart did not stop again….her blood sugar was almost 300.
I couldn’t help but feel anger—not towards her but for her. Anger that she will have to struggle for the rest of her life after seeing him go into DKA twice and be hospitalized. After seeing him have high blood sugars and low blood sugars and feel awful. After seeing him get sick with the slightest cold or virus sometimes. Seeing him have to adjust….EVERY…SINGLE… THING…HE…DOES….TO ….SURVIVE.
I knew she would have a hard time, she is such a picky eater and not a good sleeper, meaning she can sleep for 12 hours at a time, crazy teenagers! She went through a period of depression and I felt her slipping through my fingers and she used her diabetes as a weapon.
I was heartbroken and angry for so long, I felt like diabetes had won, it had taken over my family and my life. Until we decided that we are not just surviving anymore. We are not going to let diabetes win anymore. She had to find the courage to come out on the other side of depression, not an easy thing to do.
Bree has an amazing spirit. Her smile lights up the world. Bailey has the strength of a million men. His courage is far beyond words. Both Bree and Bailey have raced Motocross for several years. It is mentally and physically demanding. Diabetes could have robbed them from a sport they love but they never gave in or gave up. They are my heroes, they are my true warriors. We choose how we live each day, you, me, we choose. Not the disease.
Every day that we fight, we win.